I made a thin, crisp shortbread crust flavored with concentrated coffee, whole wheat pastry flour, and turbinado sugar and filled it with a barely sweet, egg-rich, coffee scented custard. Since there are only two tablespoons of sugar in the custard, I think it might be equally nice for dessert or as part of a brunch. - ALittleZaftig —ALittleZaftig
Test Kitchen Notes
Back in the days before I could afford an apartment with air conditioning and the summer temperatures in Boston sweltered for days on end, I had to take my morning coffee iced, with lots of cream, just to make it through getting dressed for work without wilting. This tart brings me back, sans the sweat dripping down my back, thank God. The concentrated coffee holds its own well against the barely sweet creamy custard. The brown-sugared shortbread is a great textural counterpart. My only complaint is that while the edges of the custard set well, the center stayed quite squidgy. No worries, I have plenty of spoons. - cheese1227 —cheese1227
Start with very strong coffee. I use 3/4 c. ground dark roast coffee to 4 c. water and use a French press. Any method will work, but the stronger the coffee the better, I think. Take 1 1/2 c. coffee and simmer it in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is reduced to about 1/2 c.
In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks. Whisk in the cream, sugar, and 1/2 c. concentrated coffee, reserving 1 T. of the coffee for the crust. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it is beginning to thicken and coats a wooden spoon. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. The custard will thicken slightly as it cools, too. Sieve the custard if you fear you have lumps. Set it aside until it is time to fill the tart crust.
Coffee Shortbread Crust
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the flours and mix only until incorporated. Stir in the coffee concentrate.
Transfer the shortbread dough to a 9" tart pan, and pat it out. Sprinkle it with a pinch or two of sugar to make the job a bit easier. Using your fingertips, press the crust evenly into the tart pan and up its sides. Place a sheet of parchment paper into the tart shell and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven and gently remove the parchment and pie weights or beans. Bake the crust for an additional 10 minutes. Cool the crust slightly and then pour in the coffee custard. Spread it with a spatula. Chill in the refrigerator to set and until serving time.